Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of maximizing the volume of traffic that arrives to a particular website by taking all the necessary on and off-page steps to ensure that the site appears high on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Since Google makes regular changes to its algorithm, everyone in the SEO game has to be on their toes to keep up. The good news is that one part of SEO hasn’t changed yet. I’m referring to the fact that this process involves both On-Page and Off-Page optimization activities.
The process of Search Engine Optimization involves two major parts—On Page Optimization & Off Page Optimization.
On-Page SEO is, in layman’s terms, the practice of optimizing web page content, both for search engines and visitors. As a rule of thumb, it involves the process of naturally using specific keywords in the main body of the page’s content, as well as in its title tag, meta description, headings, alt texts, and so on. On top of that, it requires the optimization of the page load speed, the use of social sharing buttons, clear page structure, URL formatting and much more.
Off-Page SEO, on the other hand, is all about building a high quality backlink profile by reaching out to prominent, authoritative websites and asking them to link back to you as well. In addition, social sharing signals play a big role here too. Think of off-page SEO as networking with other websites in real life with the aim of building strong relationships, which, in turn, will get search engines to have greater trust in your business.
Now that we know what SEO is and what its main components are, let’s take a look at some must-have SEO tools that are a part of any quality software. Knowing and understanding them will help you figure out your business needs, and, as a result, determine the SEO solution that’s perfect for you.
A comprehensive SEO audit scans every single web page of a website and evaluates how optimized their on and off-page elements are for both search engines and human visitors. In a nutshell, when going through pages, the audit follows a checklist with the aim of finding technical issues that are hindering the site’s search engine performance and, therefore, that must be resolved.
With a full, detailed audit, you can compare your site to your main competitors to ultimately change your strategy and outrank them, find out what must be improved and how, plus get an overall understanding of how SEO-efficient your site is in the eyes of search engines.
Conducting an analysis of your backlink profile will show you a list of every website that links out to your site and will make it clear how your backlink profile is boosting your chances of ranking high in SERPs.
On top of that, backlink analysis usually highlights low-quality backlinks as well, as in those that are unnatural, link out from spammy websites, and can get penalized by Google. You must disavow such backlinks to keep your site’s reputation clean and intact. But don’t just look at your own site. Analyze your top direct competitors to figure out how difficult it will be to outrank them in search. Plus, look for additional opportunities to build up your own backlink profile further by analyzing competitor backlinks.
By conducting thorough keyword research, you’ll get a better understanding of your target audience and will find out what terms people enter into search to find your offering. This will allow you to optimize the content you create to promote those search terms.
With the power of the data you can get from keyword research, you’ll be able to answer such questions as What is my target market searching for? How many people make a specific search each month? What type of content is best for a certain search term?
Knowing how people look for your products or services will make it much easier for you to devise an unstoppable SEO content promotion strategy.
Keeping track of keyword rankings allows you to be aware of how well the keywords that you use to promote your site’s pages perform in search. Doing so will help you find out if your pages are ranking on Google page 1 for a specific keyword, you’ll be able to see if you are featured in Google’s Image, Video search, or in the local ranking pack.
With this data, you can find out where you need to do more work in order to keep your SEO campaign on the right track. But checking all of your keyword’s rankings is something that you should do on a regular basis.
To boot, you often need to know how you rank in different locations around the globe. So, make sure that the SEO tool you go for allows you to track keyword rankings in several separate locations with great precision.
A huge part of your online success depends on conducting an in-depth analysis of your top competitors’ domains. Doing so will help you find data that will help you shape and improve your own domain’s search engine performance based on the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
With the right tool, you’ll be able to determine your direct competitors, find out exactly what they do online in organic and paid search, as well as how and why.
Before you do anything else, you simply must identify what exactly your business needs. Just take a look at your target goals, assuming you have them all figured out, and assess the SEO tools that can help you make it happen. Naturally, you can’t avoid looking at the technical limitations of each tool and seeing how much of your monthly budget it will cost.
Depending on your target audience, you will have vastly different approaches to implementing your needs. If you are after conversions, then some of the features listed above will play a more important role in your strategy. The bottom line is that you simply won’t be able to understand which SEO tool is right for you if you don’t have a full grasp of your needs.
This is something that everyone does automatically nowadays, but you have to give each tool a test drive before making the final call. In addition, the internet is full of honest customer reviews that can help you make the right decision for your business. Don’t make any choice until you can get a demo of each tool in action in a familiar environment. If you don’t see an option to start a free trial, reach out and ask. Many companies will meet you halfway.
To sum up, regardless of where you work—as an in-house SEO or for an agency—use the information provided above to make an informed decision about the SEO tools that’s right for you. Now, go through each tool, compare them and see which one offers exactly what you need.